Tuesday, January 24th. Mark 3:13-19

13 He went up the mountain and called to him those whom he wanted, and they came to him. 14 And he appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles, to be with him, and to be sent out to proclaim the message, 15 and to have authority to cast out demons. 16 So he appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); 17 James son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); 18 and Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean, 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.  Mark 3:13-19


Our ears perk up at the reference to the number twelve.  People into the symbolism of numbers think that twelve is a perfect number (3 as the Divine number multiplied by 4, the earthly elements.) Twelve signs in the Zodiac.  Twelve months in a year.


Twelve children born to Jacob.  (Actually thirteen but Dinah, being a girl and all, didn’t count.)  Twelve tribes of Israel.  Jesus first appearing in the temple at age twelve.  The book of Revelation reporting that 12×12 or 144,000 people of the twelve tribes would be saved at the end.


Certainly such thinking has something to do with Mark telling us that Jesus chose twelve men whom he appointed to be apostles.  Twelve men to be his disciples (students, apprentices), to be apostles (sent out ones), to live with him, to teach like him, to cast out demons like him. 


A fundamental belief for me is that Christianity is a team sport.  Christianity is a way of life designed to be lived with others, for the sake of still others.


From the very beginning, Jesus chose a core group of people who would then be able to multiply the work that Jesus wanted to be doing.  While the ancient symbolism of the number twelve is obviously going on here, of more significance to me is the groundwork that Jesus lays at the very beginning of his ministry that would have implications for Christianity on into the future.  Christianity is a team sport.


The twelve disciples become an entry point for us to enter the stories of Jesus.  Their questions become our questions.  Their doubts and fears are our doubts and fears.  Haven’t all of us wondered what it would have been like to listen to Jesus on a daily basis, to get to know him personally, to be an eye witness to the impact he had on people?


There are legends attached to most of the disciples but the truth is, we don’t know very much about them, about where they came from, about what ended up happening in their lives.  But is that really what is important about them?


Isn’t it enough for us to know that Jesus surrounded himself with friends – and set in course a faith that likewise invites us to surround ourselves with friends?  “Small group ministry” might be a churchy buzzword today but, from the very beginning, it was the foundational building block of the Jesus community.


Isn’t it enough to know that Jesus gave authority to others to do as he did?  And isn’t that in fact in the calling that we each receive in our baptism – we are called, claimed, picked and chosen to follow Jesus and represent him in the world?


Their names might be more famous – but only you have the opportunity to impact the people in your circles of influence.  You are every bit the disciple that they were.  The ball is now in your court – make sure you aren’t playing alone.


Let us pray:  Dear Lord, we remember the names of those closest to you and we thank you today for their lives, their witness, their willingness to follow and your grace in selecting them.  Thank you for numbering us among your people, for claiming us in baptism, and for setting before us opportunities to be useful to your cause in the world.  May we follow as you lead.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


2 Responses to “Tuesday, January 24th. Mark 3:13-19”

  1. Melanie Says:

    Very well said! Jesus could have done it all by himself and could still, but he calls us ALL as his disciples, to follow him and do his work. Not alone, but together, with him, and with all of our friends, as well as strangers.

  2. Sharon Longnecker Says:

    Pastor Kerry, thank you so much for these devotions on Mark. The sense of urgency is important–as an aging person, I feel that there is still much to be done and you are giving constant encouragement to do so.
    As usual, I send this on daily to a lot of people, for whom this is their day’s beginning.
    God bless you in your congregation, family, and this ministry.

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